Yesterday brought us fresh snow falling down to sea level for several hours in the morning. Strong winds from the SW made Ben Nevis a swirly whirly place to be and many people retreated in the washing machine effect of the coires. Today was a different story after a good frost and the clear sky bringing the sunshine. Mike and I enjoyed another fine day of good weather on Ben Nevis.
There was still a bit of wind high up today but Mike and I went for Douglas Boulder SW Ridge. The rocks were clearly scoured from the wind yesterday so the approach was secure enough - there were still a few areas to be quite careful of though. West Gully of Douglas Gap had been nearly scoured clean but East Gully was loaded up yesterday and a French team triggered an avalanche there yesterday.
Mike and I got to SE Ridge safely and enjoyed the climbing on dry rock with soft snow on top. It was a popular choice as is often the case these days but there were a couple of teams going up Tower Ridge and into Coire na Ciste. Point Five Gully looks very tempting but the spindrift was blowing up then down the gully today and the approach and exit slope could be quite loaded with windslab. There are many areas of deeply accumulated windslab on Ben Nevis, especially since the wind was SW yesterday and turned to NE today! Take care for the next few days as this snow slowly settles. Take a big pair of legs to wade through it as well.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.